Stella McCartney perfume block bid fails

A High Court bid to block this weekend's launch of Stella McCartney's latest perfume failed today.

The legal move was made by a cosmetics company linked to the wife of U2 frontman Bono arising out of a trademark dispute over the use of the word "nude".

Fashion designer McCartney's launch of her new eau de toilette, STELLANUDE, is scheduled in the UK for this Saturday.

But a judge in London refused to grant an interim injunction to Nude Brands Limited (NBL), which it sought pending a full trial of their claim for alleged trademark infringement.

Nude Brands, run by eco-entrepreneur Bryan Meehan and Bono's wife Ali Hewson, described as an "investor and muse" of the company, is the owner of a registered trademark for the word NUDE - in capital letters - for a large range of goods and services including cosmetics and perfumery.

Mr Justice Floyd said the company's application for an interim injunction was to restrain Stella McCartney Limited (SML), YSL Beaute Limited and L'Oreal (UK) from "infringing" the trade mark registration "for the word 'NUDE' by applying the sign 'STELLANUDE' to perfume products".

Ruling on the application, he said: "I have come to the conclusion that the balance of injustice in this case requires me to refuse the injunction.

"It seems to me that, in this particular case, the likely damage to SML and L'Oreal if an injunction is wrongly granted outweighs the damage to NBL if it is refused."

He said: "The effect of an injunction wrongly granted against SML would be to cause a massive disruption to their business, and probably cause them to abandon use of the brand altogether."

A full trial of the action - unless the parties settle in the meantime - is expected to be heard next year.

An interim injunction would have meant the launch of the new perfume being postponed pending the dispute being fully aired in court.

Mr Justice Floyd said that currently NBL's range includes cleansers, moisturisers, eye care products, face masks, body lotions and supplements.

It has never marketed a NUDE perfume, but "intends to do so".

The judge said that NBL's products were sold in the "mid to high end of the market, at retail outlets such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Space NK".

NBL's products had achieved UK sales on a retail basis of about £150,000 in 07/08, £420,000 in 08/09 and £140,000 in the first quarter of 09/10.

Stella McCartney Limited and L'Oreal "are now proposing to sell an eau de toilette and a scented linen spray under the name STELLANUDE. It is this which gives rise to the complaint in this action".

Mr Justice Floyd said: "It is clear that the intended launch of the STELLANUDE products is to be on a substantial scale.

"Some 4.8 million euros (£4.1 million) worth of product at wholesale prices has been manufactured for worldwide distribution."

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